17 Breathtaking Places to Visit in Tibet in 2024

Tibet Photos - Prayer Wheels in Gyantse
Prayer Wheels in Gyantse, Tibet

Tibet is a region in southwestern China and is known as the Roof of the World thanks to its location high up in the Himalayan Mountains. There are lots of incredible places to visit in Tibet from the vibrant capital Lhasa to peaceful monasteries and of course, Mount Everest.

The region is now fully open again for tourism after two years of closure. In fact, I was actually in Tibet when news of the coronavirus first broke and travelled back to my home in Luoyang on an empty Lhasa to Xining train (the highest railway line in the world).

Discover some of the most intriguing places in Tibet from the world-famous Potala Palace to lesser-known secrets like Drepung Monastery, the Karola Glacier and Namtso Lake. There are many places of interest in Tibet that will leave you simply awe-struck.

Boring stuff: I have visited each of the places I recommend and give you my honest opinion, warts and all. All photos are my own unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without permission. Affiliate links may earn a commission at no extra cost to you.

Check out my other articles about Tibet places to visit:

A Note About Visiting Tibet

If you plan to visit Tibet you’ll first need to get a Chinese visa. Independent travel is not permitted in this sensitive region so you’ll need to book onto a tour like I did. Your tour company will apply for the relevant permits which is just a matter of routine.

Check out these tours that include some of the top landmarks in Tibet:

Places to Visit in Tibet

When looking at places to see in Tibet you should think about where you want to go. Some of the most popular Tibet tourist attractions include the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Yamdrok Lake and Everest Base Camp.

1. Lhasa (One of the top Places in Tibet)

Central Lhasa, Tibet
Central Lhasa, Tibet

Lhasa is the capital city of the Tibetan Autonomous Region and is one of the must-see places to visit in Tibet. The city sits at a height of 3,656 metres (11,990 feet) on the Tibetan Plateau.

The city has plenty of interesting monasteries and temples to explore, including the unmissable Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery.

The bustling centre of Lhasa city is rich with markets and craft shops selling traditional Tibetan items such as prayer flags and incense. Most tours of Tibet will include Lhasa on the itinerary! Here you will find some of the most famous landmarks in Tibet!

Location: Lhasa is in the far south est of Tibet not far from the border with Bhutan. Click here to see the location.
How to get there: There are three main ways to get to Lhasa. Flying, by train from mainland China, or by road from Katmandu in Nepal.

2. The Potala Palace (One of the most Famous Tibet Landmarks)

Potala Palace
The Potala Palace in Lhasa

The Potala Palace is one of the most iconic landmarks in Asia and one of the top places to visit in Tibet. Perched atop a hill high above the city, the white, orange and crimson structure commands attention from wherever you are. Potala was first constructed in 1645 with the Red Palace following in 1694.

A visit to Potala should take around three hours. There are 432 steps to climb to reach the palace and you should go slowly due to the altitude. Inside you will be able to marvel at the myriad temples, carvings and original facades.

Address: 35 Beijing Middle Rd, Lhasa, Tibet, China, 850000. Click here for directions.
Opening Times: 9:30am to 2pm, Mon-Sun
Tickets Price: ¥200 ($30)

3. Drepung Monastery

Drepung Monastery
Drepung Monastery, Lhasa

The Drepung Monastery clings to a mountainside a little outside of Lhasa with striking views across the city and mountains in the distance. Drepung is considered one of the most sacred places in Tibet along with the Sera Monastery.

This is one of the most incredible things to see in Tibet and the views of the city from this mountain-top monastery are truly breathtaking. If you visit first thing in the morning like I did, you’ll get to see the city under a cover of mist which adds to the ambience.

The temple complex is the largest in Tibet and includes many stupas (Buddhist monuments), shrines, statues and places of learning. There is also a canteen serving both the resident monks and guests. A meal costs ¥40 ($6) and meat and vegetarian options are available.

Address: M2FX+8MR, Lhasa, Tibet, China, 850033. Click here for directions.
Opening Times: 9:30am to 2pm, Mon-Sun
Tickets Price: ¥50 ($7)
Website: drepunggomang.org

4. Sera Monastery

Sera Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet
Sera Monastery, Lhasa

Along with Drepung, the Sera Monastery is one of the most important places of learning for Tibetan Buddhism and one of the three great monasteries.

Here you will find monks engaged in vigorous arguments (more question-and-answer sessions) as they demonstrate and hone their faith.

It is quite an incredible sight to behold and most tours of Lhasa include entry to the temple where you can see the monks engaging! This was definitely one of the highlights of my time discovering some of the Tibet tourist places.

Address: China, Tibet, Lhasa, 850007. Click here for directions.
Opening Times: 9:30am to 2pm, Mon-Sun
Tickets Price: ¥200 ($30)

5. Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple, Lhasa
Landmarks in Tibet – Jokhang Temple, Lhasa

The Jokhang Temple which is located in the centre of Lhasa is the most important religious building to Tibetans. The Temple is designed in a style that incorporates Tibetan, Nepalese and Indian influences. Outside Jokhang, you will find many worshipers praying.

Jokhang Temple is one of the most important Tibetan landmarks and a must-visit when in Lhasa. Around the temple, you’ll find bustling streets filled with

Address: M42M+3GX, Lhasa, Tibet, China, 850000. Click here for directions.
Opening Times: 9:30am to 2pm, Mon-Sun
Tickets Price: ¥50 ($7)

6. Barkhor Street

Lhasa, Tibet
Busy Barkhor Street in Lhasa

Barkhor is a bustling market street in the centre of the city close to Jokhang Temple. Here you will find traditional Tibetan restaurants (yak meat is a staple), art and craft shops and shops selling items such as incense and prayer flags.

This is where to go in Tibet if you want to buy some gifts and souvenirs from the many sellers or drink chai in one of the cafes.

7. Chongsaikang Tashi Market

Potala Palace Hanging
A tapestry of the Potala Palace hangs on the wall of a Tibetan home.

Chongsaikang Tashi is the oldest market in Lhasa (dating back as far as 1727)! Here you will find traders of all descriptions and prices are lower than on Barkhor Street! As well as different foods and spices on sale, you’ll find a selection of prayer flags, incense, decorations and more.

I bought a beautiful huge rug of the Potala Palace for ¥500 ($70) but alas, I had to leave it in China as I didn’t have the room to take it with me and due to covid was unable to have it shipped back to England. I guess I’ll just have to go back and buy another at some point.

Like Barkhor Street, this is one of the places to visit in Tibet for gifts and souvenirs, and you can definitely haggle (I got my rug down from ¥1,000).

Address: Beijing E Rd, Lhasa, Tibet, China, 850001. Click here for directions.
Opening Times: 9am to 5pm, Tue-Sun
Tickets Price: Free

8. Yamdrok Lake

Places to Visit in Tibet - Yamdrok Lake
Beautiful Yamdrok Lake – One of Tibet’s top Landmarks

Yamdrok translates as “turquoise” and it’s easy to see why this sacred lake has its name. The lake lies around 100km south of Lhasa and is a usual stop on any Everest Base Camp Tour. Yamdrok Lake is one of three large, holy lakes in Tibet and stretches for 70km beneath snow-capped mountains.

In the distance, you can see Mount Nojing Kangstan which is used by mountaineers to practice for Everest. Before reaching the lake, you will transcend the Kangbala Pass at 5,050 metres (16,568 feet) from where you can view the lake in all its glory!

It is usual to spot yaks by the lake and locals take this as an opportunity to earn a few Yuan by letting you take a photograph with one. This really is one of the most beautiful places in Tibet and was one of the highlights of my journey from Lhasa to Everest.

9. Tibetan Landmarks – Namtso Lake

Beautiful Places in Tibet - Namtso Lake
Beautiful Places in Tibet – Namtso Lake

Namtso Lake is another of Tibet’s holy lakes located to the north of Lhasa. The lake sits at 4,700 metres (15,400 feet) and is famed for its crystal-clear waters making it another of the most beautiful places in Tibet.

The lake is surrounded by snow-capped Himalayan peaks rising majestically from the water’s edge and is an important habitat for wildlife. The area around the lake is home to the black bear, wild ox, marmot and a host of birdlife. This is one of the top places to go in Tibet for nature lovers.

10. Gyantse

Gyantse is a small yet charming town between Lhasa and Shigatse. It is notable for its large hill fort dating to the time of the Raj, where British and Indian soldiers helped to train the Tibetan officers (the border with India is less than 100km away).

We stopped in Gyantse on our way to Shigatse ad spent time exploring the sacred Pelkor Monastery, one of the top Tibet attractions in the region (See below).

Location: Gyantse is at the junction of the S307 and S204 between Lhasa and Shigatse.

11. Pelkor Monastery

Pelkor Monastery
Pelkor Monastery, Gyantse

Gyantse is home to the Pelkor Monastery (sometimes spelt Palcho) which is home to the largest stupa in Tibet. The large cylindrical monument can be climbed and offers some stunning views of the fortress and plateau.

This is one of the best places to visit in Tibet thanks to its unique architecture and gorgeous mountain setting. Inside the monastry yu’ll find small rooms decorated with ornate Buddhist artworks, symbols and statues.

Address: China, Tibet, Ri Ka Ze Shi, Gyantse County, Unnamed Road 857400. Click here for directions.

12. Gyantse Dzong (Fortress)

Gyantse Dzong Fortress
Gyantse Dzong Fortress

The impressive Gyantse Dzong fortress sits perched atop a large rocky outcrop and is reminiscent of the Potala Palace in Lhasa (though it has always been a military site, not religious). The fortress dates back to the 1300s. The fort was taken over by the British in 1904 during the “British Expedition to Tibet”.

13. Karola Glacier (One of the Top Natural Landmarks in Tibet)

Karola Glacier, Tibet
Karola Glacier, Tibet

Just 300 metres from the main Lhasa to Shigatse Highway is the enormous Karola Glacier. The glacier sits at an elevation of 5,560 metres (18,241 feet) and there is a small viewing area and car park. For nature lovers, this is one of the amazing places to visit in Tibet and a must-see attraction in the region.

Address: Gyantse County, Shigatse, Tibet, China, 857500. Click here for directions.
How to Get There: The Karola Glacier is on the main S307 highway between Lhasa and Gyantse.

14. Rongbuk Monastery

Rongbuk Monastery and Yak
Rongbuk Monastery with Everest in the background

Rongbuk Monastery is a small temple sitting in the shadow of the mighty Everest. It is the highest such monastery on earth at an elevation of 5,009 metres (16,433 feet). Built in 1902, Rongbuk was an important pilgrimage site for Sherpas on their way to Everest. You will usually find yaks grazing close by.

Address: Tingri County, Ri Ka Ze Shi, Tibet, China, 858200. Click here for directions.
How to Get There: Rongbuk Monastery is located in the small village of Rongbuk across from the only hotel and less than a kilometre from Tibet Everest Base Camp.

15. Everest Base Camp (One of the Best Places to Visit in Tibet)

Everest Base Camp, Tibet
Everest Base Camp Tibet

Mount Everest is one of the highlights of any Tibet tour and unlike in Nepal where it takes at least ten days of trekking, you can visit EBC Tibet by road. The exact elevation is 5,200 metres (17,060 feet) making it the highest point on any Tibet tour.

Most Everest Base Camp Tours will include a night spent in accommodation at the foot of the mountain and you can do a small base camp trek.

The rooms are very basic and very cold (any water bottles left out will be frozen solid by morning). Seeing the stars above Everest is a picture that is priceless and is absolutely THE top place to visit in Tibet!

Location: Mount Everest straddles the border between Tibet and Nepal. Tibet base camp is located within the Everest National Park (Qomolangma National Nature Reserve) which is reachable from the Tibetan city of Shigatse. Click here for directions.
Read More: Tibet Everest Base Camp Tour

16. Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon

The Yarlung Tsangpo is the longest river in Tibet and the ninth longest in the world. The river crosses India, Bangladesh and Tibet and is a tributary of the Ganges. The Yarlung Tsangpo Canyon is the largest in the world (not the Grand Canyon in America as many think) at 504.6km long. It is also the deepest canyon in the world!

We drove along the canyon after leaving Everest Base Camp and it was one of the most scenic places in Tibet with tiny villages clinging to the ravine. We were even invited into a Tibetan home en-route where we were fed tea and yaks meat.

17. Mount Kailash

6,638 metre (21,778 ft) Mt Kailash is a holy Mountain located in western Tibet and an important place of Buddhist pilgrimage. Visiting Kailash is not included on most Tibet tours as it is far off the beaten track, but if you have the time and money, is well worth visiting as one of Tibet’s beautiful places.

How to Visit Tibet

The only way for foreigners to visit Tibet is to take a tour. There are many different types of tours with differing itineraries, so you must first decide which Tibet tourist attractions you wish to see.

How much does a Tibet Tour Cost?

Most small group tours are between five and 15 days and cost from $450 upwards. Below are some examples from experiencetibet.org (who I went with and can highly recommend)!

  • 4 Day Lhasa Tour – $450
  • 5 Day Lhasa & Yamdrok Lake Tour – $650
  • 8 Day Lhasa and Everest Base Camp Tour – $850
  • 10 Day Lhasa, Everest and Namtso Lake Tour – $1200
  • 15 Day Mount Kailash Tour – $1,850

Permits for Tibet

In addition to a Chinese visa, you will need a Tibet Travel Permit to visit the region. If you plan on visiting Everest Base Camp then you will need an additional permit. The good news is that your tour company will apply for the permits on your behalf. All you need to do is submit a copy of your passport and Chinese visa.

Getting to Tibet

The best way to reach Lhasa is via the legendary Qinghai Express Tibet Train which runs on the highest railway line in the world. The Xining to Lhasa train is one of the most scenic train trips in the world and the views are simply staggering.

You will see yaks grazing at the foot of the mighty Himalayan Mountains, eagles soaring on thermals above and otherworldly landscapes covered in snow. In addition to the beautiful scenery in Tibet, the train stops at Tanggula which is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the highest railway station in the world!

Taking the train can also help with acclimatisation as you reach the Tibetan Plateau over time, rather than straight from sea level by plane.

The journey from Xining to Lhasa takes 22 hours. See below table for ticket prices:

  • Hard Seat ¥224.00 ($35)
  • Hard Sleeper ¥521.00 ($80)
  • Soft Sleeper ¥808.00 ($125)

You can purchase an e-ticket up to 30 days in advance via Trip.com.

More Info: How to Take the Xining to Lhasa Train

Places in Tibet FAQs

Below you’ll find answers to some common questions about tourist places in Tibet.

Is Tibet good for tourists?

Tibet is definitely a good place for adventurous tourists as it’s one of the most beautiful places in the world. From Himalayan peaks, including Everest, to hilltop temples, glacial lakes and open pastures, there is something for everyone visiting Tibet.

What is the most beautiful city in Tibet?

One of the most beautiful cities in Tibet is of curse Lhasa. The city is surrounded by the Himalayan Mountains and is home to the impressive Potala Palace and many other beautiful monasteries.

Can foreigners go to Tibet?

Foreigners can travel to these places in Tibet, but you’ll first need to get a Chinese visa and then a Tibet Travel Permit (this will be arranged by your tour company). All foreigners visiting Tibet must join an official tour and there are lots of great options to choose from.

Is it worth going to Tibet?

It’s definitely worth going to Tibet and it’s one of the most incredible places in the world for adventurous travellers. The scenery and nature is truly breathtaking, and you’ll find some of the most beautiful temples in the world.

What is Tibet known for?

Tibet is known for its many Buddhist temples, the Himalaya Mountains, grazing yaks, and as the spiritual home of Buddhism.

Is Tibet a Good Place to Travel?

Tibet is an incredible place to travel. It is a shame that it must be on a tour and one cannot explore freely. Perhaps one day. However, this unique, mystic and ancient land is one of the most amazing places in the world and should be a must-visit for any serious traveller.

Dunhuang, Gobi Desert, China

About the author:

Steve Rohan is a writer from Essex, England. He has traveled to over 60 countries, lived in Armenia, China and Hong Kong, and is now living the digital nomad life on the road.

Steve prefers “slow travel” and has covered much of the world by train, bus and boat. He has been interviewed multiple times by the BBC and recently featured in the documentary Scariest Places in the World. See the About page for more info.

Where I am now: Yerevan, Armenia 🇦🇲

One thought on “17 Breathtaking Places to Visit in Tibet in 2024

  1. Kelvin says:

    Hello Steve,

    I saw your post here and understand you’ve been to Tibet. I’m planning a trip to Tibet and would love to ask for your recommendations for a must visit places there. Appreciate you can share

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